Cultural ambassadors?

By | Category: Travel news

Rachael Hamilton © Andrew Cowan /Scottish Parliament

Last week in the Scottish parliament, Rachael Hamilton MSP asked the government to do more to encourage regions to appoint cultural ambassadors to play key roles in supporting and promoting tourism throughout Scotland. The government agreed saying that they are “keen at all times to look at new ways of ensuring that these measures are successful.”

On the face of it then, it is adjudged a “good idea” so why aren’t there cultural  ambassadors for every region in Scotland? And England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Certainly they are needed judging from a question by another MSP, Clare Haughey. She said that Visit Lanarkshire and Visit Scotland poorly serve her constituency, often misaddressing venues as being in Glasgow or not promoting local amenities and, instead, directing tourists elsewhere in the area. The government minister said that he recognised the points that the member was making and, although he said some of the reasons for inaccurate information was that some businesses did not necessarily provide accurate information, the suggestion seemed to be that he was aware that the destination promotion organisations could do more.

I suspect that similar issues apply in our other countries.

If this is the case then appointing cultural ambassadors for each local authority in each country with a combined annual meeting to publicise their issues seems a good idea. Why not expand the role to that of a tourism ambassador. That will do more to promote domestic tourism than almost anything else short of free train journeys or free hotel accommodation!

New York has an agreement with Taylor Swift which seems to have proved successful in promoting the city and whilst destinations over here couldn’t afford the sums this singer might demand, there are some celebrities who would happily perform the role of cultural ambassador. The Beatles and Ken Dodd were from Liverpool and everyone knew it. Chas and Dave will be forever linked to London just as Maureen Lipmann is widely known to have come from Hull, Lorraine Kelly from Dundee and the Hairy Bikers from Tyneside.

They would seem to make ideal cultural ambassadors as would hundreds of others.

Which local authority will be the first to adopt the idea?

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